Defense Analyst Claims that Camp Humphreys Can Be Destroyed By North Korean Rockets

Really nothing surprising here, North Korea has long been able to target Camp Humphreys with ballistic missiles, rockets just give them another way to attack the base:

Camp Humphreys

The new U.S. Pyeongtaek Garrison is vulnerable to North Korea’s rocket and missile attacks possibly topped with chemical and biological warheads, a noted American defense analyst told The Korea Times Friday.

“The new North Korean 300mm rocket launchers would be able to reach Pyeongtaek,” said Bruce Bennett, a senior defense researcher at the Rand Corp.

It was a contingency that the U.S. failed to anticipate in the early 2000s when the integrated U.S. base was planned, the Korea expert added. Pyeongtaek is located 100 kilometers from the southernmost area of the North Korean side on the inter-Korean border and is outside the range of the North’s 7,000 artillery pieces located there.

But the latest 300mm rocket launchers can cover the distance and hit the U.S. base and what is also worrisome is they are reloadable, he said.

The North’s theater ballistic missiles also pose a threat to the base where key elements of the U.S. forces here are being moved to. “The North has 100 launchers for these missiles,” he said, citing a ROK military whitepaper. “We have significant uncertainties with regard to their number and payloads.” The North is said to possess large quantities of chemical and biological weapons that are deliverable by their projectiles.  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link.

North Korea Welcomes Eighth Army Headquarters to Camp Humphreys By Threatening to Destroy It

It seems to me that the North Korean spokesman unintentionally took a swipe at North Korean targeting capabilities by saying their systems perform better against bigger targets:

Camp Humphreys

North Korea warned Friday that U.S. forces stationed in South Korea are within striking range even if a key unit has moved to a new base located south of Seoul.

The U.S. 8th Army on Tuesday opened its new headquarters at the Camp Humphreys garrison in Pyeongtaek, a port city some 70 kilometers south of Seoul, after a decade of delay in the base relocation. It marked the end of the army’s 64-year presence at the Yongsan base in central Seoul.

North Korea’s military stationed at the truce village of Panmunjom said that regardless of the location, they cannot avoid North Korea’s ruthless firing.

“The larger the U.S. military base is, the more effectively our military hits targets,” a military spokesman was quoted as saying by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).  (…….)

“If (the leadership) issues an order, our military will destroy the U.S. imperialists with salvos of firings,” the spokesman said. “If the U.S. sticks to reckless military confrontation despite our warning, it cannot avoid a miserable end.”  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link.

ROK Defense Ministry Says They Will Negotiate USFK Cost Sharing “At a Reasonable Standard”

The Korean government better be ready to pay more for USFK cost sharing because this is something that I suspect President Trump will not waver on:

The Korean Ministry of National Defense said on Monday it is working toward a “reasonable” solution to the issue of maintaining U.S. troops here, following U.S. President Donald Trump’s claim that Korea should pay a larger portion of the cost.

Moon Sang-gyun, the Korean Defense Ministry spokesman, said in a briefing Monday, “The U.S. Forces Korea’s contributions to defense on the Korean Peninsula, our financial capability, the security situation on the Korean Peninsula, and also enabling conditions for stability in the stationing of USFK will all be comprehensively taken into consideration to enable negotiations to set burden-sharing at a reasonable standard.”

Trump said during the joint press briefing with President Moon Jae-in Friday in Washington after their summit, “We are working together to ensure fair burden-sharing in support of the U.S. military presence in South Korea.” He upped pressure on Seoul ahead of negotiations later this year to decide a defense cost-sharing plan.

“Burden-sharing is a very important factor,” Trump also said at the joint conference, which is “becoming more and more prevalent, certainly in this administration.”

This marks the first time Trump has publicly raised the issue of Korea paying more for the stationing of U.S. troops since he took office in January, amid concern in Seoul over upcoming cost-sharing negotiations.

During his presidential campaign, Trump took an “America First” stance and has urged for U.S. allies to pay their fair share of the cost in defense.  [Joong Ang Ilbo]

You can read more at the link.

Study Says Keeping A Permanently Stationed Brigade in Korea Would Save Money

Even if it is cheaper to permanently station a brigade in South Korea, the reason USFK has been citing for using a rotational brigade is increased readiness of the unit since it trains together, deploys together, and returns to its home station together:

The downsizing of the Army overseas has cost more money than expected because of a reliance on expensive rotational forces when forward-based units can perform the same roles more cheaply, according to a new U.S. Army War College report.

An examination of the costs of troop rotations during the past several years in Europe and South Korea undermines a decade-old Defense Department argument that shuttling units back and forth from the United States is a more efficient way of doing business than basing them overseas, said report author John R. Deni, a War College professor.

There also is evidence that the long rotations are taking a toll on troop morale, with units deployed to Europe and South Korea showing lower re-enlistment rates than their counterparts, the report found.

Deni, whose findings were the subject of a panel discussion Wednesday at the Atlantic Council in Washington, said the Army should base one additional armored brigade in Europe and one in South Korea along with aviation assets and enablers.  [Stars & Stripes]

You can read more at the link, but one of the other positives of the rotational brigade is that if the Pentagon wants to reduce troop numbers on the peninsula it is much easier to do so with a rotational unit that is not sent instead of trying to pull a permanently stationed brigade off of the peninsula.

US Air Force Reportedly Deploys JASSM Missiles to Kunsan AB

It looks like the US Air Force has added a new tool to their toolbox of weapons to deal with any North Korean contingency:

The U.S. military has deployed to South Korea state-of-the-art missiles equipped with precision strike capability for a possible North Korea contingency.

Multiple diplomatic sources said on Monday that to their knowledge, U.S. Forces Korea(USFK) recently put in place around ten Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles(JASSM) at its air base in Gunsan, North Jeolla Province.

It is also known that the missiles can be mounted on F-16 fighter jets deployed to South Korea on a regular and rotational basis.

The missiles are assessed to have precision strike ability to hit key facilities in Pyongyang when launched from south of the military demarcation line(MDL).  [KBS Global]

2nd Armored Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division Begins South Korea Rotation

Here is the latest armored brigade to rotate into South Korea:

The 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division colors are uncased during a transfer-of-authority ceremony at Camp Humphreys, South Korea, Wednesday, June 28, 2017.

A new combat brigade took point on the heavily militarized Korean Peninsula on Wednesday.

The 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division replaced the 1st ABCT, 1 ID as the only U.S. combat brigade in South Korea during a transfer-of-authority ceremony at Camp Humphreys. It also marked the first day of the new brigade’s nine-month rotational deployment.

“I’m very proud to have the Black Jack brigade rejoin the rolls of the 2nd Infantry Division,” Maj. Gen. Ted Martin, the division’s commander, said during the ceremony.  [Stars & Stripes]

You can read more at the link.

Camp Stanley Training Tunnel will Continue to Be Used Even After 2ID Relocation

I have been to Camp Stanley so many times and I never realized this training tunnel was located there:

A chemical-sniffing robot patrols the underground training facility at Camp Stanley, South Korea, Tuesday, May 23, 2017. MARCUS FICHTL/STARS AND STRIPES

Boxes have been packed and nails stick out from walls where pictures and maps used to hang.

U.S. soldiers are getting ready for a historic move from the front lines to new quarters south of Seoul, South Korea, as part of a relocation plan that has been in the works for more than a decade.

But there’s one important feature they can’t take with them — a half-mile tunnel carved into a mountain that rises above Camp Stanley, which has been home to 2nd Infantry Division units since shortly after the 1950-53 Korean War.  (…..)

Training for the possible need to search and clear such facilities is high on the agenda for U.S. and South Korean forces. But it’s about to become more challenging for the 23rd Chemical Battalion, which is preparing to move to Camp Humphreys, about 55 miles south of Seoul, this month. It will retain access to the tunnel, although it’s unclear how that will work without a regular presence on the base.  [Stars and Stripes]

You can read more at the link.

Demonstrators Hold Pro-USFK Rally In front of Camp Red Cloud

It looks like some of the silent majority in South Korea have decided to stand up to the currently empowered leftists trying to create a wedge in the US-ROK alliance:

Dozens of South Koreans rally outside Camp Red Cloud to show support for U.S. forces, Monday, June 19, 2017. The rally happened more than a week after several singers boycotted a concert organized by the city of Uijeongbu to celebrate the 2nd Infantry Division’s centennial.

Dozens of South Koreans waved American flags and signs with slogans like “Deploy THAAD immediately” and “Strong ROK-US alliance” during a rally Monday to support the 2nd Infantry Division after several musicians boycotted a recent concert celebrating its centennial.

The municipal government in Uijeongbu organized the June 10 concert at a sports complex in the city, which has long been home to 2ID headquarters at Camp Red Cloud. But several South Korean K-pop bands and other musicians who had been expected to perform either did not show up or declined to play their songs.

The group organizing Monday’s rally, which was held on the sidewalk in front of the U.S. Army garrison, produced a letter addressed to the division’s commander, Maj. Gen. Theodore Martin.

“We, Patriotic Koreans want to deliver our deepest apology about the disruption of the Centennial concert,” the letter read. “We also want to express our sincere appreciation for you and your soldiers’ dedication for the security of the Republic of Korea.”  [Stars & Stripes]

You can read more at the link, but the boycott had to be highly embarrassing to the Uijongbu mayor Ahn Byung-yong who was sitting next to USFK Commander General Vincent Brooks when the cancellations happened.  According to the article the mayor is blaming pro-North Korean leftists and media for causing the cancellation.

ROK Army General Awarded Legion of Merit from the US Army

The deputy commanding general of the 2nd Infantry Division has his game face on as he receives an award from the 2ID commander Major General Martin:

Army Maj. Gen. Yin Sung-hwan, right, poses with 2nd Infantry Division commander Maj. Gen. Theodore Martin after receiving the Legion of Merit, Wednesday. / Courtesy of ROK Army

A Korean two-star general has received a U.S. military award for his contribution to the ROK-U.S. Combined Division.

According to the Army, Thursday, Maj. Gen. Yin Sung-hwan, the commander of the 56th Infantry Division, got the Legion of Merit ― a decoration issued to members of the U.S. Armed Forces as well as to military personnel of foreign nations.

The Combined Division, comprised of the 2nd Infantry Division (2ID) of the Eighth U.S. Army and the 16th Brigade from the ROK Army, was established in 2015 to effectively contain North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction. Yin served as the deputy commander for one year. The division is headed by the 2ID commander.  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link.

USFK Marine Corps Commander Says Not Enough Marines to Permanently Station Large Presence in South Korea

If anyone has ever wondered why there aren’t more US Marines stationed in South Korea here is the reason:

Maj. Gen. Robert Hedelund, the outgoing commander of U.S. Marine Forces Korea, said he has about 75 Marines on his staff and their main mission is fostering the relationship with South Korean forces and facilitating training exercises.

The commander of the small contingent of Marines based in South Korea says the corps does not have enough forces to permanently expand its presence on the divided peninsula.

Unlike the Army, Navy and Air Force, the Marines do not have operational units stationed in South Korea despite the growing threat from the North. Instead, Marines travel from Japan to the peninsula on a rotational basis to conduct training exercises with their South Korean counterparts.

Maj. Gen. Robert Hedelund, the outgoing commander of U.S. Marine Forces Korea, said he has about 75 Marines on his staff and their main mission is fostering the relationship with South Korean forces and facilitating training exercises.  [Stars & Stripes]

You can read more at the link.